How state art robs the people 83w" sizes="(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px" />Chances are you won’t have heard of


David Mulholland (1946-2005), a painter
of and from Middlesbrough. Until last year, when a group of friends devoted to the preservation of his memory sent me some of his pictures, neither had google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; I. The work hit me immediately as authentic, born of intimate feeling for its subject. Most affecting were powerful graphite and wash drawings of blackened industrial places populated by persevering working people. Having edited a

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of art papers for over twenty years, google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; I felt that if anyone had a right to have heard of David Mulholland then it was at the very least someone
in my position.

What follows is a lament for the establishment’s theft of the richness of our culture. Over decades now, by advancing its prejudices 300w, 61w" sizes="(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px" />Mulholland was born in South Bank, a community on the Tees built around quaysides, three blast furnaces, steel rolling mills and fingers of


cindery railway sidings. In photographs of the place in its heyday, and before

the works closed, it looks smokily Soviet in its

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concentration of polluting ad hoc production. It’s the sort of place which, if you are born there, is
in your blood

forever. As landscape painter Len Tabner, another important local and friend of Mulholland, said
at the recent opening of his memorial exhibition at the Dorman
Museum google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; in Middlesbrough, “Dave went all the way to Byam Shaw and to the Royal College of Art in London but only ever painted South Bank.” Apart from a brief foray as a young seaman, when he painted foreign
scenes, it remained that way. He eventually returned home, taught art unconventionally in a secondary school, painted his life and friends,
and sometimes

warmed up and paraphrased by others for his new shows in London and Yorkshire. This insulting process of indoctrination goes unmentioned elsewhere, as though it’s taken for granted that only a handful of artists merit such relentless promotion. The only

difference in these disgustingly fawning and uncritical pieces is the sentence where they state what Kapoor is currently worth – and it keeps getting bigger, the last number cited being £80 million.


their best local artists what is it
their job to do? And what an irony it is that the modern art
gallery in Middlesbrough is showing coincident with Mulholland’s memorial show an exhibition dealing with “concepts of
‘home’” … starring Tate trustee Jeremy Deller.

David Mulholland spoke a local language, a ‘home’ language, which is understood internationally by


all people. No human being /* xin2 */ is excluded from its sentiments. State artists talk an international language which, google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; like esperanto, is understood by hardly anyone. There ought to be room for both persuasions, but we are force fed only one.

David Lee

The Jackdaw November-December 2012